There are two crises happening in America right now. The first is a virus mostly concentrated in the Northeast and a few select cities killing a lot of people. The 2nd crisis is the unnecessary decision to force tens of millions out of work, drive small businesses under & to steer us towards a depression by locking down areas not badly impacted by the virus.
From the beginning of the pandemic, throughout most of the United States, we have treated EVERYWHERE like it’s NYC. A densely packed city, where social distancing is nearly impossible and where people go everywhere on tightly packed subway cars that the government has only, just this week, decided to sanitize on a regular basis. Great job there, guys!
How much sense does it make to treat a rural county in say Nebraska or South Carolina like it’s NYC? For that matter, how much sense does it make to treat ALL OF NEW YORK like it’s NYC? For example, there are 12 counties in New York that have less than 50 cases each. Why exactly are they locked down? I am writing this from South Carolina, which is slowly starting to come off a lockdown. SC has 1/24 as many deaths per million people as New York. Neighboring North Carolina, which is still locked down, has 1/30th as many deaths per million people as New York. Further afield, Wyoming which never had a stay-at-home order in place at all has 1/15th as many cases per million people as New York and 1/100th as many deaths per million people. New York has 19.5 million residents and 23,780 virus-related deaths. Florida has 21.5 million residents and 1,268 Coronavirus deaths. If you say, “Well New York is very different from North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, and Wyoming,” I’d agree. In fact, that is the whole point. New York City may be the worst spot on earth for the Coronavirus, but very few places in the United States are like New York City.
With that being the case, there was never a time when it made sense to lock down most of America. Most states were locked down because of a simple political calculation. There were these insanely high estimates for how many Americans would die from the Coronavirus. I even saw one pundit from CNN suggest on Twitter that 8.5 million Americans could die. So, if you’re a politician, the easy decision is to put a stay-at-home order in place and then claim you saved enormous numbers of lives with your quick thinking when the laughably bad models don’t pan out.